Showing posts from August, 2009

Interesting Animal # 101 - Dogs

Three genes account for all the different coat types in dogs.

(Whether wiry, smooth, curly or straight, they're all controlled by these three genes. Of course only owners are responsible for diamanté, tartan and other kinds of fashionable clothing that dogs wear.)

Interesting Place # 111 - Manchester - Podcast

The Soviets planned to invade Manchester.

(A map showing the route Soviet tanks would have taken is on display in an exhibition at the University of Manchester's John Rylands Library, Manchester. It shows the route chosen for taking the city which went along Washway Road, the Mancunian Way and Princess Road. These roads were considered wide enough for armoured vehicles and tanks to roll into the city centre.

Personally speaking, if I was going to invade a city, it wouldn't be Manchester. I think a nice little village in the Cotswolds would be more to my liking.)

Interesting Fact # 1142 - Music

According to a report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), 95% of music downloaded online is illegal.

(The problem is going to get worse, as people forget what it was like in the "old days" when we actually paid for stuff. I think my CD collection is going to be considered very old-fashioned.)

Interesting Fact # 1141 - Unemployment in the UK

According to the Tories, nearly two million people in Britain have never had a job.

(Seemingly a further three million have not worked since Labour came to power. In the worst unemployment black spots, as many as a quarter of all adults have not held down a job since 1996. Of course the conservatives are the opposition party, and so they are calling it "horrendous". Labour could put a different 'spin' on it by saying "Over 5 million people in Britain haven't had to degrade themselves by working for Tory fat cats!")

Interesting Place # 110 - Bangladesh

Police in Bangladesh are being given training, but they're not just being trained in how to arrest people, or shoot a gun, they're having lessons in grooming, personal hygiene, physical fitness, skin-care, diet and dining etiquette.

(I think some of our police officers could do with a similar programme.)

Interesting Fact # 1140 - Pavements

If you trip on a pavement in the UK, you can be eligible for compensation.

(In the UK if a pavement is uneven by more than 1" and someone trips, they can make a claim. Over the past 5 years, councils in England have paid out more than £82m in compensation to people who've simply tripped on uneven pavements. Leeds City Council top the league for claims. So, if you've had an accident or fall anywhere - call this number ......"

Interesting Fact # 1139 - Brits Abroad

The Foreign Office has released its annual British Behaviour Abroad report which reveals that almost 7,000 Brits were arrested overseas.

(Figures showed that drug offences now account for a fifth of all arrests. Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant said: "The message is clear - have a great time while you're away, but make the necessary preparations before you go." I presume he means "Get lawyered up.")

Interesting Fact # 1138 - Work

According to the Japanese Ministry of Labour 35% of the Japanese workforce are temporary workers.

(In 1988 only 18% of the workforce were temps. Japanese companies which were once committed to providing employment for life have been hit by the recession, but not all positions can be filled by temps. Regulations list the following seven occupations which should not be dealt with by private fee-charging employment agencies: 1) clerical occupation done by persons who have not yet passed one year after their graduation from school; 2) sales occupation done by persons who have not yet passed one year after their graduation from school; 3) occupation of services except for occupations of housekeepers, barbers, hair dressers, Kimono dressing helpers, laundering and cleaning technicians, cooks, bartenders, waiters and waitresses at formal restaurants, models and demonstrators of goods for retail; 4) occupation of security guards; 5) occupation of agriculture, forestry and fishery; 6) occupat…

Interesting Fact # 1137 - Tax

According to the Global Financial Integrity organisation, developing countries lose $900 billion through tax evasion.

(The World Bank´s Stolen Asset Recovery initiative estimates the cross-border flow of proceeds from criminal activities, corruption and tax evasion at between $1 trillion and $1.6 trillion per year, about half of which come from developing and transitional economies. Where it all goes is a taxing question.)

Interesting Fact # 1136 - Transport - Podcast

According to Bike Europe, bicycle sales have risen by 14.6% in Europe.

(Seemingly more people are cycling to work. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "On yer bike!")

Interesting Fact # 1135 - Energy

A club in Rotterdam in the Netherlands is giving new meaning to the phrase "an electric atmosphere". They convert the dance movements to electricity, which is used to light up the dance floor.

(Seemingly special circuits capture the vibrations of the dancers and transform them into electricity to power the bulbs. The name of the club is The Club Watt. Coming to a gym near you, soon.)

Interesting Fact # 1134 - The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower in Paris has 18,038 steel pieces.

(The con artist Victor Lustig "sold" the tower for scrap metal on two separate occasions.)

Interesting Fact # 1133 - The Eiffel Tower

According to the Times newspaper, it takes 60 tonnes of paint to paint the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

(It takes 25 painters 18 months to finish and it's had 17 coats since it opened on March 31,1889. Nowadays it's repainted every 7 years, more often than my poor old house.)

Interesting Fact # 1132 - Health

A broken heart can kill you.

(Broken heart syndrome, known medically as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, is serious, patients present with symptoms such as heart-induced shock and abnormal heart rhythms which often require emergency treatment.

It was first described by Japanese researchers in the early 1990s, but the good news is that it can be cured. Patients studied by researchers from two hospitals in Providence, Rhode Island were diagnosed with broken heart syndrome between July 2004 and April 2008, and even though a fifth were were critically ill and required emergency treatment to keep them alive, they all survived the first 48 hours and experienced a full recovery.)

Interesting Fact # 1131 - Allotments

According to home insurance firm LV, people in parts of the UK have to wait for up to 40 years for an allotment.

(The longest wait was in Camden at 40 years, followed by 30 years at Blyth Valley in Northumberland and 25 years in Islington, north London. So, get your name on the waiting list, otherwise by the time you get one, you'll be too old to dig it.)

Interesting Fact # 1130 - Electric Appliances

This is the amount of electricity consumed by common small appliances:


26,500 watts: Elec. furnace, 2000sf, cold climate

7,941 watts: Elec. furnace, 1000sf, warm climate

3,800 watts: Water heater (electric)

1,100 watts: Waterbed heater

150 watts: Electric blanket


3,500 watts: Central Air Conditioner (2.5 tons)

1,440 watts: Window unit AC

100 watts: Floor or box fan (high speed)

75 watts: 48" ceiling fan (high speed)

24 watts: 42" ceiling fan (low speed)


4,400 watts: Clothes dryer (electric)

2,000-5,000 kWh: Washing machine (per load)

4,400 watts: Electric oven

200-700 watts: Refrigerator (compressor)

57-160 watts: Refrigerator (average)

3,600 watts: Dishwasher (w/water heater)

1,200 watts: Dishwasher (no water heater)


60 watts: 60-watt light bulb (incandescent)

18 watts: CFL light bulb (60-watt equivalent)

5 watts: Night light

0.5 watts: LED night light


150-500 watts: Desktop Computer & 17" CRT monitor

1-20 watts: Desktop Computer & Monit…

Interesting Food # 51 - Cheese

In central Italy, a deposit of a Parmesan cheese is enough to secure a loan.

(In cases of default, the banks recuperate their losses by selling the cheese, that's when they phone the debtor and say "Hard cheese".)

Interesting Fact # 1129 - Burglary

Research by has shown that people living in London and Nottingham are most likely to be victims of burglary.

(Five of the top 20 postcode districts in which people have made claims for theft or burglary on their home insurance during the past five years are in London and four are in Nottingham.

I was burgled four times, but I was living in Bristol at the time. It doesn't really matter where you live in the UK, there is always the risk that someone will decide they deserve what you've got.)

Interesting Place # 109 - Bulgaria

Almost half the expensive rose oil used in perfumes and cosmetics comes from a single valley in Bulgaria.

(The valley, unimaginatively called Rose Valley (Розова долина, Rozova dolina),is in a region of Bulgaria south of the Balkan Mountains. Roses have been cultivated there for centuries.)

Interesting Fact # 1128 - Top Search Terms

According to Symantec's OnlineFamily.Norton Service kids are searching for the following online:-

1. YouTube
2. Google
3. Facebook
4. Sex
5. MySpace
6. Adult Films
7. Yahoo
8. Michael Jackson
9. Fred (A popular fictional character whose YouTube channel has become a hit among kids.)
10. eBay

(I don't know what age range the search covers, but I guess there are no real suprises apart from maybe Fred. Seemingly Fred Figglehorn is a fictional character on the video-sharing website YouTube. The videos are centered around a fictional 6-year-old, Fred Figglehorn, who has a dysfunctional home life and "anger management issues".)

Interesting Fact # 1127 - Lazy Brits - Podcast

According to a poll commissioned by Nuffield Health, Britons are so lazy that one in six cannot be bothered to change television channel if the remote control is not working.

(I can't really comment on this, I'll just have to wait and see what I do when the batteries go flat.)

Interesting Food # 50 - Tomato Ketchup

Tomato Ketchup was once sold as a medicine in the United States.

(In the 1830's it was sold as Dr. Miles Compound Extract of Tomato. H. J. Heinz proclaimed his ketchup as a health food too, and having learnt more about the chemical compounds in the humble tomato, maybe they were right.)

Interesting Fact # 1126 - Emigration

According to a survey commissioned by recruitment firm Kelly Services, Americans are less likely to move abroad than Brits.

(Seemingly a whopping 11 million Brits are thinking of taking a job overseas within the next two years, but according to the findings of the mobility study, 66% of Americans would consider moving to another city for the right job opportunity, but only about a third would consider moving to another country. This figure drops even lower to 28% when there's a requirement to learn a foreign language, which should come as no surprise.)

Interesting Fact # 1125 - Weddings

A Chinese bride walked down the aisle in a 2,162m long (7,083ft) gown in an attempt to break the world record.

(The bride, Lin Rong, had her dress made for her by her husband-to-be, Zhao Peng, and his family in eastern Jilin province. It took their 200 wedding guests three hours to unroll the fabric and decorate the train with 9,999 silk roses.)


Today at 12.34 and 56 seconds it was 12:34:56 07/08/09...

Do you realise that makes it 123456789?

I don't think it will ever happen again in my lifetime.

Interesting Animal # 100 - Rooks

Scientists have found that rooks are able to figure out how to raise the water level in a laboratory container by dropping stones inside to retrieve a tasty worm floating on the surface.

(Not such bird brains after all. I guess it's all about the incentive.)

Source: Current Biology

Interesting Fact # 1124 - Oil

According to Dr Fatih Birol, the chief economist at the respected International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris, oil on which modern civilisation depends is running out far faster than previously predicted.

(He predicts that global production is likely to peak in about 10 years – at least a decade earlier than most governments had estimated. As he said, "we have to leave oil before oil leaves us".)

Interesting Fact - Cigarettes

A study, by researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada, has shown hat something as simple as the colour of a cigarette packet can fool smokers into thinking the cigarettes it contains are less dangerous to their health.

(Around 80 percent of participants in the study believed that cigarettes in a light blue packet would deliver less tar, have a smoother taste and pose less of a danger to health than those in darker blue packaging. But then again, smokers blithely ignore the "Cigarettes can kill you" messages, so maybe we shouldn't take that much notice of what influences them and what doesn't.)

Source: Oxford University Press Journal of Public Health

Interesting Fact # 1122 - Memory

In memory tests run by researchers at Plymouth University people who doodled performed 29% better than people who didn't doodle.

(According to the researchers doodling stops people from daydreaming, which is a more taxing diversion, and so it's good at helping people focus on mundane tasks. Unfortunately I'm a daydreamer, and yes, I have a terrible memory.)

Interesting Animal # 99 - Dogs

Police dogs in Cambridgeshire have their own "pensions" and "health plans".

(Previously an officer would sign a disclaimer taking responsibility for the dog's actions and medical care - otherwise the animal would be re-homed. But now Cambridgeshire Police is paying for the food, vet bills and kennelling costs during an animal's retirement. Quite right too.)

Interesting Fact - Google

Google started its life as a search engine called BackRub.

(It indexed 75 million websites and 30 million HTML pages were downloaded by the crawler. Larry Page gave his email address and phone number on the FAQs page. I dare him to do that nowadays.)

Interesting Fact # 1120 - Advertising

The first banner ads sold on the web appeared on HotWired.

(HotWired proceeded to sell banner ads in large quantities to a wide range of major corporate advertisers. In fact HotWired coined the term "banner ad" and was the first company to provide click through rate reports to its customers. The first web banner sold by HotWired was paid for by AT&T.)

Source: Wikipedia